Latest News

20
Aug

Worker Remains Hospitalized after Texas Mine Accident

A miner hospitalized for six days following an accident at a Texas lignite mine has been released, while the remaining hospitalized miner has been moved from the intensive care unit.

The update today, courtesy of MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere, pertains to an accident Aug. 13 at Luminant Mining Co., LLC’s Sulphur Springs Strip Mine in the Hopkins County community of Thermo.  Six persons were injured when they unexpectedly came in contact with hot debris from an out-of-service lignite storage silo.  A fire official said hot ash and burning embers fell on the miners. 

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20
Aug

Persistence Needed to Locate NIOSH CIB on Tobacco Policies

NIOSH is seeking comments on a newly released Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB) dealing with workplace tobacco policies, but the Institute has not made finding the document easy.  Read more »

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19
Aug

Appeals Court Dismisses Industry’s POV Challenge

An appeals court has dismissed mining industry lawsuits against MSHA over its pattern of violations (POV) rule for lack of jurisdiction.

In a decision released today, a panel of the Sixth Circuit also declined to transfer the litigation to a district court.  Perhaps the only good news for the industry was that the case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning no industry right or privilege has been lost or waived.

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19
Aug

MSHA Gets Court Order for Access to North Dakota Mine

A standoff between a North Dakota excavation company and MSHA has ended with an agreement to allow the safety agency to conduct inspections without interference.

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19
Aug

Probes Coming in Mount Polley Disaster, Company to Seek $100 Million for Cleanup

In the wake of an environmental disaster, officials in British Columbia have announced two separate investigations will be launched, and the company responsible has said it will attempt to raise $100 million to cover cleanup costs.

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18
Aug

Two Remain in Hospital after Texas Coal Mine Accident

Two of the five miners hospitalized last week following an accident at a Texas lignite mine remain hospitalized today. 

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14
Aug

Group Sends Canadian Company Eviction Notice Following Spill

In a clear example of what happens when a company jeopardizes its social contract, native Indians in British Columbia have issued an eviction notice to a metal mining company whose tailings pond spilled massive quantities of waste into the environment of the western Canadian province.

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13
Aug

Officials Dealing with Mine Waste Spills in Mexico, Canada

Authorities of both countries bordering the U.S. are dealing with toxic waste releases from tailings ponds at metal mines that have led to restrictions on water use for nearby residents.

On Aug. 7, about 10 million gallons of toxic waste was reportedly released from Grupo Mexico’s Buenavista copper mine in the northern state of Sonora, about 25 miles from the U.S. border.  The waste, which was said to contain sulfuric acid, turned water in a river orange and left 20,000 people cut off from water supplies.  

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11
Aug

Metal/Non-Metal Mine Rescue Competition Winners Announced

Top honors in this year’s national metal and non-metal mine rescue competition went to three teams representing metal producers in Missouri, Wyoming and New Mexico.  Read more »

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11
Aug

Water Restrictions Remain in Place for Some after Canadian Mine Dam Breach

A week after a massive breach of a tailings pond in British Columbia, water restrictions remain in place for some residents.

The impoundment pond at Imperial Metals Corp.’s Mount Polley Mine in the central part of the western Canadian province sent billions of gallons of gray sludge and 4.5 million cubic meters of metals-laden fine sand into nearby lakes and streams, including Polley Lake and Quesnel Lake.

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8
Aug

DOL Wins Award for Silicosis Video

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Public Affairs has won an award for the best safety video of 2013.

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8
Aug

Former Arch Coal Manager Pleads Guilty in Kickback Schemes

The former general manager of a West Virginia mining complex has pleaded guilty to masterminding kickback schemes prosecutors say totaled more than $1.8 million over an eight-year period.

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8
Aug

MSHA Revokes Approval of Sandvik ABM20 Remote Control System

MSHA has issued a Program Information Bulletin (PIB) announcing withdrawal of its approval of the Sandvik Model ABM20 remote control system for the ABM20 continuous bolter miner.

The PIB, released Wednesday, means that MSHA no longer considers the equipment approved. As such, MSHA has recommended that affected Coal and Metal/Non-Metal (M/NM) mine operators take action to replace the unapproved equipment with an MSHA-approved remote control system.

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7
Aug

Judge Grants Operator’s Request to Depose District Manager in POV Case

The district manager overseeing a West Virginia mine designated as exhibiting a pattern of violations (POV) may be deposed to answer factual questions about his knowledge of that enforcement action, but MSHA’s Coal Administrator may not be, a judge has ruled.

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7
Aug

Defective Brakes an Imminent Danger but Not S&S, Judge Rules

A judge agreed with MSHA that a scraper represented an imminent danger because the driver could not stop the equipment on a grade, but did not agree that the condition could lead to injury.

Administrative Law Judge Richard Manning upheld inspector Brian Chaix’s order against Knife River Construction because he said the inspector’s belief was reasonable that the defective brakes represented an imminent danger.  Chaix observed the scraper fail to stop on a 12%-14% grade at the aggregate producer’s Vernalis Plant in California in May 2013.

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6
Aug

Judge Upholds Citation but Scolds MSHA over Misleading Form

A judge has upheld a citation against a New York aggregate producer for not recording training information on an MSHA form, but chided the agency for providing a form not designed to capture all required information.

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6
Aug

Judge: MSHA’s Imminent Danger Authority is Unreviewable

A judge has upheld an imminent danger order MSHA issued to a Kentucky coal operator, but not to its contractor, even though the order was issued for allegedly unsafe conditions at the contractor’s work site at the mine.

In the same decision, released Tuesday, Administrative Law Judge Thomas McCarthy vacated a citation against the operator for an alleged violation of 77.205(a), safe access, because he opined the inspector had broadened the reach of the standard beyond what was appropriate.  The citation carried a proposed $3,493 fine.

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5
Aug

Montana Man Killed at Aggregate Mine

A Montana man has been killed in an accident at a construction sand and gravel mine in Montana. 

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4
Aug

NIOSH Issues Interim Final Rule on Medical Surveillance of Coal Miners

NIOSH has published an interim final rule (IFR) to align its health surveillance requirements for coal miners with requirements in MSHA’s final coal dust rule.

The rule, released today, amends NIOSH’s rules at 42 CFR Part 37 to establish standards for approval of facilities that conduct spirometric examinations and to require that all coal mine operators submit a plan for spirometry and chest x-ray examinations of all surface and underground coal miners.

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1
Aug

Main, Labor Leaders Hail Start of New Coal Dust Rule

The first phase of MSHA’s controversial black lung rule goes into effect today.

MSHA Assistant Secretary Joe Main (center in photo) celebrated the occasion by getting together with two labor leaders who have expressed support for the measure.  They are AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka (left) and United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts (right).

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IN THE AUGUST ISSUE OF SHARPE'S POINT: ON MINE SAFETY

MSHA Unloads on California Aggregate Operator
Heavy Enforcement Jeopardizes Mine

Opinions: Loose Ends
Views on Aracoma, Research Data, Openness

Changes are Afoot for MSHA’s Driver Contract
Cost of Unneeded Service Likely to Go Up

Legal Briefs
Noteworthy Settlements

Analysis: Operator Wins Case Having Wide-Ranging Implications
Special Assessment Procedures Challenged

OpEd: U.S. Lags in Coal Disaster Prevention Research and Technology
Little Improvement Seen Since UBB

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Coming Events

Oct. 6-8, Natcher Conference Center on NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD

Oct. 22, PERA Building Training Room, Santa Fe, NM

Oct. 24, ENMU Union Building, Roswell, NM

Current Regulatory Agenda

Proposed (P) Final (F)
(DFR) Direct Final Rule

MSHA
(F) Prox Detect Devices: CMMs Jun '14
(P) Fees for Product Testing Aug. '14
(
P) Civil Penalties Issued Aug '14
(P) Prox Detect Devices UG Sep. '14

OSHA
(F) Update NAICS Jun '14
(F) Confined Space Construction Aug '14
(F) Slips, Trips, Falls Oct '14
(F) Improve Injury Tracking Mar '15
(
P) Employers' Rptg. Obligation Aug '14
(P) Beryllium Jul '14
(P, DFR) Eye, Face Protection Sep. '14

Fatalities

          2014

  • Coal 8
  • Aggregates 8
  • Other M/NM 9

Total 25

         2013

  • Coal 20
  • Aggregates 12
  • Other M/NM 9

Total 41

         2012

  • Coal 20
  • Aggregates 10
  • Other M/NM 6

Total 36

    2011
  • Coal 21
  • Aggregates 8
  • Other M/NM 8

Total 37

 

 

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